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BERLIN – Budget men’s dress shirts beat their luxury counterparts in German tests which compared them on durability, comfort, care and environmental standards. 14 cotton shirts priced between €10 and €140 were compared, and a value shirt from Lidl came top, beating luxury brands including Hugo Boss in nearly all test points, including durability, comfort, care and pollutants. The testers also looked at production conditions, including visiting a sewing factory in Bangladesh and talking with manufacturers about their social and environmental commitments. In this part of the assessment, the brands that came out top were C&A, Lidl, and Seidensticker, putting their luxury rivals in the shade.

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The tests were carried out by German consumer research body, Stiftung Warentest. It tested 14 light blue business shirts with prices ranging from €10 for the discount shirt from Lidl up to €140 for the luxury brand shirt of Van Laack.

Results were excellent for the cheapest shirt in the test. The
€10 Lidl shirt ‘Nobel League’ achieved a good or very good result in all test points (durability, comfort, care, pollutants). Likewise, the ‘Jakes’ shirt by Peek & Cloppenburg for €30 scored very well in all the tests.

“Even after frequent washing, [these] business shirts still look A1 and could be worn like the first day. However, not all manufacturers perform equally well … weaknesses in the durability showed surprisingly not the cheap models in the test, but some brand manufacturers.”

Other brand shirts with average prices of around €50 euros – for example from Olymp – scored only ‘satisfactory’ in tests, which showed that after 21 wash cycles, there were the first signs of wear on the collar.

The testers also looked at the local production conditions, visiting a sewing factory in Bangladesh and asking manufacturers for information on their social and environmental commitments. In the assessment of social responsibility and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Lidl, C&A and Seidensticker performed best. Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger failed to provide information and were therefore rated ‘Poor.’

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